Having lived and worked in two other EU countries for 16 years, and bothered to learn four other European languages, I have a different outlook to many Brits. I hold a long term, bigger picture view of Europe which is definitely about being stronger together and not about finding differences or reasons to stand apart. Just as in any relationship, look for what works then focus on improving the rest. Don’t just walk away.
I know the EU has problems as you would expect of an organisation of 28 different nationalities, cultures, languages, ways of working and inevitable bureaucracy. After 58 years of existence since formation in 1958 and having grown from 6 to 28 countries, who would expect different?
On the plus side, we are the largest economic trading block in the world with a population of over 500 million and most countries share a common currency, the Euro . We have achieved peace throughout Europe since two horrendous World Wars which started in Europe. Twelve countries were formerly behind the Iron Curtain . It is quite astonishing what has been achieved. I prefer to focus on the positive.
Unfortunately, the UK media, at least the populist media, has been negative portraying the EU as a cash-sucking machine rather than a source of inward investment. Rarely are we told of the specific investments in eg infrastructure which are positively announced with a large EU flag on the Continent. It is unbelievable how many people still believe that EU migrants are to blame for most of the ills in our economy, from NHS, housing and education through jobs rather than the honest fact that EU migrants bring a positive benefit to our country to the tune of £20 billion in net taxation receipts. There are many reasons why our country is one of the most overcrowded in Europe and why the NHS always seems to be in crisis but these are nothing to do with EU migrants and more a result of policies from successive governments. On the contrary, I value their contribution to our economy, our rich multicultural society and particularly their huge presence within the NHS at all levels. Did you know there are Italian doctors working in various aspects of mental health services which is an area severely underfunded by this government?
Brexit focused largely on two false promises which they know they cannot fulfil ie:
- Saying the UK contribution to the EU is £350 million a week (false figure) and this saving would be spent on the NHS. They now admit this figure is wrong and that money cannot go to the NHS.
- Saying they would cut immigration. They have admitted they have no plans for how to cut immigration.
The Brexit campaign lied to the people. They portrayed the European Union in a very negative way instead of a balanced look at the good and areas for possible reform.